Sanem donates bone marrow

Theology teacher confirmed as a match to donate bone marrow, as one in every 430 people in the registry.

Sanem donates bone marrow

by Helen Wheatley, Opinion Editor

Theology teacher Michael Sanem has been confirmed as a match for a bone marrow transplant and underwent the procedure this morning. Sanem notified his advisory that the surgery was successful and that he is at home recovering. After joining the bone marrow registry in 2008, he was contacted in April of this year and asked to donate. About 1 in 430 people who are registered to donate bone marrow actually end up donating, according to the National Marrow Donor Program.

Sanem knows little information about the recipient, except for her gender, age and disease. Upon being contacted in April, Sanem says he was overwhelmed by the expedition of the process, which typically takes about three to six months from first contact to donation.

“I looked up the disease that the young woman has and it was kind of a moment of, ‘Okay, what are you complaining about? Just do it,’” Sanem said.

One of the coolest parts of the process, Sanem believes, is that part of what sustains him will also be sustaining another life.

“It’s weird because you feel this immediate connection,” Sanem said. “Suddenly her illness is part of me and, literally, I’m part of her. My blood is pumping in someone else.”

After the procedures for both people, Sanem and the recipient will be able to communicate anonymously. He will receive updates about her well-being for up to a year, at which point they can choose to meet.

“She’s got a long road ahead of her,” Sanem said. “It’s weird to be so connected to someone you don’t know, to think about them several times a day, pray for them. It’s just bizarre.”

Sanem will likely return to school on Tuesday.